X-POSITION: Paul Cornell

In "Dark Reign," Norman Osborn (a.k.a. the Green Goblin/Iron Patriot) was miraculously put in charge of the heroes in the Marvel Universe. He oversaw the next generation of heroes in "The Initiative," had his own squad of heavy hitters with the "Dark Avengers" and made his mark in the mutant world with his group of "Dark X-Men." Osborn's (dark) reign is about to end, however, as all his plans are currently unraveling in the pages of the Marvel event "Siege."

Since Osborn's tenure is finally coming to it's inevitable conclusion, it should come as no surprise that the teams under his command will come to an end as well. As a matter of fact, the "Dark X-Men" have already wrapped up their final mission. Nate Grey (X-Man) has been captured by Osborn and Mystique's team of "menacing" mutants, and the Iron Patriot stands victorious in the book's last pages.

Sounds kind of grim, doesn't it?

What does this ending mean in the grand scheme of things? And can X-fans hope to see more Dark X-Men anytime in the near future? To get the answers to these questions and more, X-POSITION managed to get ahold of writer Paul Cornell before he left the X-mansion. Let's see what dark secrets he keeps up his sleeve...

CBR News: First up today is WhoZeDuke (second cousin of WhatZeHeck) who wants to sing the praises of his favorite creative combo...

I have to say, Paul, that everything you and Leonard Kirk have done together has been fantastic. "Captain Britain and MI:13" and "Dark X-Men" (including your stories from "Dark X-Men: The Beginning") have been some of my favorite comics from the past few years. The "Venus" backup in "Avengers vs. Atlas" was great too.

Nate Grey returned - and got disappeared again - in "Dark X-Men"

So I have to know - when will you two be put on a high-profile ongoing? I'd love to see you and Kirk on one of the ongoing X-Books after "Second Coming." Please tell me this will happen, or if not, that you'll be doing a project together soon...

Paul Cornell: Thanks very much. I'd love to do an ongoing, particularly an X-book, so I can only recommend you put that question to the X-editors, then pop back and tell me what they say. It's okay, I'll wait.

(Waits. Hums a bit.)

He's not coming back, is he? I assume WhoZeDuke is a bloke's name. He'd be called WhoZeDuchess, otherwise. Perhaps he's of French extraction. Do you think I said something wrong? I'll answer the next couple while we're waiting...

Joshua Hetherington is sure pleased to hear that, as he has a number of questions for you about the Dark X-Men's adventures.

1) Was it always intended for the Dark X-Men to be "semi-sidelined" in their own miniseries? It seems that while they had a part to play in the story, they spent most of their time reacting to everything around them (i.e. Norman and X-Man).

Well, that's the story, really, that they don't also serve, sometimes, who only stand and wait - that sometimes you have to do something.

2) Do you have any idea of where Mystique, Omega, Mimic and Dark Beast are going to end up post-"Dark X-Men?"

No. If I'd read ahead, I could have got WhoZeDuke to ask the X-editors that too. He should be back any time now.

3) Will the Dark X-Men remain a team after Norman Osborn's kingdom comes tumbling down? I'd love to see them running up against Rogue and a squad of X-Men in one of the other X-books...

Me too. And I'd be up for writing that if it happens. I think they'd have quite an interesting new dynamic out on their own. Not a particularly stable one, but that's where the interest would lie.

4) On that note, will there be a sequel to this miniseries?

Again, you're asking the wrong person, really. I never asked about it, because it seemed obvious that it was of its time, but, hmm, you've made me consider this now.

As long as you're considering it, Morgan Piersanti is curious to hear about possible additions you'd make to the team...

If the Dark X-Men were to ever return, what characters would you add to their ranks?

I've mentioned Sauron a couple of times. I think he's really interesting. I'd like to see him battling the Tolkien estate for use of the name. No, seriously. That'd be a major issue for him.

Interesting. Maybe the Dark X-Men should have a lawyer on the team...nah, that's too dark.

Andre4000 sent in the last set of questions for the day, and it appears he really wants to know more about the specifics of that final issue:

1) This series seemed to end on an abrupt note. It didn't feel like the stories eased into an ending so much as, "Norman's caught Nate Grey. The End." Was this the plan from the beginning?

Absolutely. "And I'll make sure to have an abrupt ending," I told Nick. "Great," he replied, "abrupt is one of my favorite kinds of -"

2) The ending also felt very dark in nature, which I suppose is a given considering the book's title. Is it difficult to write an ending that leaves characters on such a bleak note?

That was entirely what I was after, to have it smack them and the audience in the face. Invigorating, I'd call it. Bracing, even.

3) Do you have any idea where can we find out what will happen to Nate Grey (maybe "Second Coming")? Were you told what would happen to him after your book? Or were you just given the directive to have him locked up by the end?

I think Nick wanted to have him locked up; maybe that was in the brief, yes. Or at least, we decided on it towards the end of the process. I don't know what happens to him next. If there's an audience for a solo book, I'd love to write it.

4) I have a weird question about a small detail here, but why was Nate's eye bandaged up at the end of the book? Maybe I don't know enough about the character, but does he derive some of his powers out of his ability to see from that eye?

That's his glowing eye, and following the torture...it may or may not be there anymore. Draw your own conclusions.

5) How do you see Norman's psychosis working? I was surprised the Green Goblin portion of his mind walked away from the Norman portion without a fight. Why do you feel this happened?

Because they're both incredibly pragmatic - Goblin and glorious leader Norman - and everything else that was going on was far more important than fighting for control.

6) Last question - I've been a fan of yours for awhile. In addition to the comics you've been doing lately, do you have any other projects (books, TV shows) coming up that we can look forward to?

Thanks very much. I've got a pilot coming up on BBC3, for a medical horror show called "Pulse." That may go to series, or may be shown on its own to gauge audience reaction, we don't know yet. There'll be some comics, prose and TV surprises this year, none of which I can talk about yet, but I think it's going to be an exciting year.

Outstanding! But before you leave, it's my turn to have a little "Behind the X" fun and ask a thought-provoking query. As you've spent a lot of time with the Dark X-Men and Norman Osborn, can you tell us, out of all the fictional villains found in various media (books, movies, etc.), who do you find to be the most terrifying and why?

Good question. I do like villains to be people you actually wouldn't want to meet or be, rather than glamorous anti-heroes. (Anti-heroes are fine, but they're not villains.) I think John Simm's Master in "Doctor Who" is a good example of a villain that's actually frightening, because he's capable of anything.

Hmm, no sign of WhoZeDuke. I wonder if he just doesn't want to tell me the bad news...ho hum.

We should tell Paul not to despair - Hope is coming! Granted, this is Hope in the literal sense, but still, he should be pretty excited, right?

Hope, the potential savior of mutantkind, is returning from a long trip through the timestream in the pages of "X-Men: Second Coming." For over two years, X-fans have wondered about this occasion...so I'm hoping that means they'll have some excellent questions for our guests next week!

The two writers behind this huge event - Craig Kyle and Chris Yost - are joining us to answer all your emails about the imminent arrival of this mysterious redheaded mutant to the X-Universe. Naturally, they'll also be happy to tackle questions about all those other X-titles they work on as well ("X-Force," "Psylocke," "X-Men: Hellbound"). I'm expecting my In Box to fill up quickly, so don't delay - send me your emails ASAP. Throw an "X-Position" in the subject line, and you'll have good luck all week - just give it a try! See you in seven!

Tags: x-position, paul cornell, dark x-men

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